The Best I Can


First I ask for their forgiveness
and then I attempt to forgive myself.
I didn’t want to lose my temper
I didn’t want to jump up and down
and yell
and get red in the face.
But I’m tired, and sick, and human,
and sometimes I just lose it.
The critic said to me,
See? Five years of daily meditation
have done nothing for you.
You still lose your temper.
You are an imposter.
I said to the critic
If you think this is bad,
imagine how I’d be without meditation.
And then I forgave myself.
For what?
For listening to the voice
that told me I should have done better
than I was able to do.
I am, like everyone else on this blessed planet,
doing the best I can.

5 responses »

  1. I love your posts! The humour in “if you think this is bad, imagine how I’d be without meditation” made me smile. I think I have found a differentiation between getting cross and getting angry. Show me a parent who never gets cross and I’d be fascinated. Managing to maintain that moment of inner strength so that the crossness doesn’t spiral into anger appears to be the greatest challenge…. But teaching children about repair is as important as anything else and we can take solace from the fact that we are not setting an unachievable picture of perfection and that we can teach how to right our wrongs. I have been interested to unpick what is at the root of my anger and, now unpicked, it turns out it’s not as frequent a visitor. Thank you for writing and well done for balancing out the critic with the compassionate voice!

    • Such a good point about teaching children about repair. I’ve talked about this many a time with my therapist. My parents didn’t take me aside after they cooled down to let me know that their angry outbursts were not my fault. I make it a point to do this with my children. Although I feel guilty and self-critical for not having more self-control and am plagued by the fear that I am traumatizing my children irreparably, I am reassured by the power to acknowledge that I’ve made a mistake and do what I can to repair it. I’m teaching my children about emotional intelligence when I let them know about the feelings that contributed to my losing it, and I show them that I care about their feelings when I ask if they need anything from me to feel better. A lot of the time they want to be held, or hugged, which is touching. My fear has been that they will become afraid of me and want to distance themselves from me, but the opposite has been true. When I make a repair attempt, they invariably want to come closer to me. And then I feel empowered to give them the love that I know I have within me. Parenting is such a trip!!!

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